Repairing tiger ears and paint scrapings at Knightshayes

A volunteer conserving an ornament at Knightshayes

Knightshayes is throwing open it's doors this winter to give visitors the chance to see taxidermy conservation in action. Love it or hate it, the fascinating pieces will be undergoing repairs and getting some TLC, and the chance to see it is not to be missed.


Throwing open the doors.

Traditionally, National Trust properties are closed during the winter, as they set about doing important conservation work, however here at Knightshayes, we’ll be throwing open the doors so our visitors can watch this vital work. We’ll also be undertaking some important and more unusual conservation work this January, including the repairing of a tiger’s ears.

During January and February, visitors can see a different side of Knightshayes as our staff and volunteers will set about conserving and preserving the house and collection. From 18 to 20 January 2016, visitors can watch Simon Moore, a natural history conservation adviser at work in the East Wing, working on all things taxidermy. One of the most important pieces to be repaired will be a very old tiger rug with ears suffering from delamination, which is the flaking away of layers. 

Love it or hate it?


Taxidermy is a tricky one to preserve and we’re making sure we give it the care and attention it needs. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s always fascinating to see and it’s important it’s there for everyone in years to come. The repair work will all be taking place in our temporary entrance in the East Wing of the house, which isn’t usually open to the public, allowing visitors the chance to see rarely seen rooms.

Continuing projects


In February, the team will also be starting the process of taking paint scrapings from the kitchen as part of the ongoing project to restore it. Specialists will be coming to Knightshayes to take samples of each layer of paint from the walls in the old kitchen, and will be able to work out the colours and age each layer of paint is. This will help the team at Knightshayes to continue the project and recreate the kitchen in a way that’s most true to its past. 

father and soon exploring inside the house at Knightshayes, Devon.

The house at Knightshayes

Discover the 19th century manor house at Knightshayes built for a former Tiverton MP.

View of Knightshayes house at dusk from the south gardens

The history of Knightshayes

Delve into over 200 years of history on a visit to Knightshayes, a stunning Victorian manor house in Devon.